On June 6, 2023, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued an urgent warning to consumers to stop using recalled Bobby Newborn Loungers and urged online marketplaces to stop selling the pillow-like products after two additional deaths were linked to the loungers. This brings the total number of infant deaths associated with Boppies to 10. Reach out to a to a San Antonio defective product lawyer.
The loss of an infant is devastating, especially when harm could have been prevented. If your child was injured or died while using a Boppy Newborn Lounger as an infant, and you are interested in pursuing legal action, the Wyatt Law Firm can help. Contact us for a free consultation and case evaluation.
What Are Boppy Newborn Loungers?
The Boppy Company makes and markets a variety of infant carriers and nursing pillows. The Boppy Newborn Loungers are pillow-like products measuring roughly 22-23 inches around and 7 inches high. The loungers were designed to allow infants to sit comfortably at a slightly elevated angle. When the loungers were first recalled, Boppy noted that the products were not advertised as an infant sleep product and that they were sold with warnings against unsupervised use.
However, newborns spend most of their time sleeping. Some companies advise parents to transition sleeping babies from pillows and playmats to a crib or bassinet. But exhausted parents of newborns unaware of the seriousness of those recommendations may be reluctant to risk waking a peacefully sleeping infant, especially when they see photos parents post on social media of their babies sleeping peacefully on loungers and similar products.
“You can’t put the blame on parents,” CPSC Chairman Alex Hoehn-Saric told NBC News. “If you have a product that looks like it’s good for sleep, you can’t claim that it’s not a sleep product.”
When Were the Boppy Newborn Loungers Recalled?
In September 2021, the CPSC announced the recall of nearly 3.3 million newborn loungers made by The Boppy Company, after eight infants smothered to death after being placed in the cushioned products. The deaths were reported to the agency between December 2015 and June 2020.
“These types of incidents are heartbreaking,” said then-Acting Chairman Robert S. Adler in a news release announcing the recall. “Loungers and pillow-like products are not safe for infant sleep, due to the risk of suffocation. Since we know that infants sleep so much of the time—even in products not intended for sleep—and since suffocation can happen so quickly, these Boppy lounger products are simply too risky to remain on the market.”
The recall affects all models of the following The Boppy Company products:
- Boppy Original Newborn Lounger
- Boppy Preferred Newborn Loungers
- Pottery Barn Kids Boppy Newborn Loungers
The loungers were sold from January 2004 to September 2021 in the U.S. and Canada for between $30 and $44, by retailers such as Amazon, Pottery Barn Kids, Target, and Walmart.
Consumers who have these products in their homes should stop using them immediately and contact The Boppy Company for instructions on how to safely dispose of them.
Facebook Marketplace Continued to Sell the Hazardous Recalled Newborn Loungers
Selling or distributing recalled products, including newborn loungers, is illegal. However, some consumers didn’t heed these warnings, and the CPSC found, some of the products continued to make their way onto the market.
“In the past year, CPSC has formally requested—on average about one thousand times a month—that [Facebook parent company] Meta take down listings for the Boppy Newborn Lounger from Facebook Marketplace,” CPSC commissioners wrote in a June 6, 2023, letter to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “Despite these repeated requests, sales of the Boppy Newborn Lounger on the platform continue.” The commissioners urged Zuckerberg to prevent the sale of the “recalled and violative consumer products on Facebook Marketplace.”
“As a leading technology company, Meta can and should dedicate the necessary resources to protect consumers by preventing both the listing and the sale of recalled products,” the commissioners wrote. “It should also incorporate access to recall information, facilitating consumer ability to identify recalled products and obtain available remedies to address the hazards they pose.”
Warning Signs Years Before the Boppy Recall
The CPSC first rang warning bells about nursing pillows and loungers in October 2020, when the commission cautioned parents and caregivers that pillow-like infant products are unsafe for sleep and pose hazards to infants.
“The initial assessment of incidents shows deaths when children are left on or near pillows, and the child rolls over, rolls off, or falls asleep,” the commission warned. “CPSC is investigating the entire class of products. CPSC is not issuing a warning with regard to any specific brand at this time.” Less than a year later, the commission announced the recall of millions of Boppy Newborn Loungers.
However, an investigation by NBC News published exactly two weeks before the Boppy recall found that The Boppy Company’s newborn lounger products may not be the only ones posing death risks to infants.
Dangerous Newborn Loungers by Another Name
According to the May 25, 2023, investigation by NBC News titled “Death by Delay,” if you factor in similar cushioned infant loungers by other manufacturers, the infant death toll from these dangerous products more than doubles to at least 26 babies. And the real count could be much higher, according to the report.
Investigators say that before the Boppy Newborn Lounger recall, CPSC commissioners had considered laying down widespread regulations on cushioned infant loungers because some experts believed they were unsafe. Had the commission established these regulations, manufacturers would have been forced to redesign their loungers or stop selling them altogether, according to the investigative report.
However, one day after the Boppy recall was made public, two of the higher-ranking CPSC commissioners decided to take a different approach, opting instead to approve an annual operating plan that removed the proposal for regulating the products.
Since the Boppy recall in September 2021, at least five babies have died in loungers from a variety of makers, according to NBC News, including a 3-month-old Texas boy who died face-down in a Boppy less than a week after the Boppy recall. The following spring, a 4-month-old died from asphyxiation in an off-brand sleeper made in China and sold on Amazon.
NBC News determined that as many as 21 babies—all less than a year old with the youngest just 4 days old—died in infant loungers six years before the Boppy recall. The cause of the deaths was listed as suffocation, asphyxiation, or loss of oxygen. Seven lawsuits filed by parents blame the loungers for contributing to the infant deaths.
When probed by NBC News, CPSC evaded blame for not pushing for sweeping regulations on cushioned infant loungers and nursing pillows. “CPSC has long warned of the dangers of putting infants to sleep in products not intended for sleep, including soft, pillow-like products,” the CPSC said in a statement to NBC News. “When we develop evidence of hazards—especially that a product is associated with infant deaths—we can and have prioritized these risks and taken action to warn and protect consumers from products posing such risks.”
Do I Have a Recalled Boppy Lounger?
The CPSC urges parents and caregivers to stop using the Boppy newborn loungers and stresses that the products should not be donated because they pose the same hazard to others. Instead, consumers should contact the company for instructions on how to dispose of the product and get a refund, which may only be a partial one. For more information, contact The Boppy Company at 800-416-1355 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online at www.boppy.com/pages/product-recalls.
CPSC emphasizes that the best place for a baby to sleep is on a firm, flat surface in a crib, bassinet, or play yard. Parents and caregivers should never add blankets, pillows, padded crib bumpers, or other items to an infant’s sleeping environment. Babies should always be placed to sleep on their backs.
Contact a Lawyer with Wyatt Law Firm Today
Eight infants died using The Boppy Company newborn loungers before the company finally agreed to recall the products. Unfortunately, online platforms, including Meta’s Facebook Marketplaces, continued to allow the sale of these hazardous products, and more babies have died as a result.
Any loss of an infant is heartbreaking. A preventable death is devastating. If your child was injured or died while using a Boppy Newborn Lounger, and you are interested in pursuing legal action, contact the San Antonio personal injury lawyers at the Wyatt Law Firm online or at (210) 953-5849 for a free consultation and case evaluation.